I’m welcoming multi-genre author Robert (Bob) Germaux to the eBook Review Gal website. Robert has just released his seventh book – the last being “More Grammar Sex”, which is his follow up to “Grammar Sex: A Collection of (mostly humorous) Essays.
In his author interview, and in his usual tongue-in-cheek, humorous way, Bob shares a witty take on writing, publishing and snack-eating. Let’s get started!
What motivated you to start writing?
From an early age, I always enjoyed the writing process, spending time putting words together in just the right way to get my point across, be it in an essay in 12th grade, a term paper in college or just the many letters I wrote to my parents while I was away at school. But it wasn’t until I retired after three decades as a high school English teacher that I had the time to try to write an actual novel. The further I got into that first book about Pittsburgh private investigator Jeremy Barnes, the more I realized how much I loved writing. A dozen or so books later, that love burns brightly still.
Pantser or Outliner? Why?
Okay, I was pretty sure I knew what an Outliner was, but I had to go to Google to check on Pantser. I fall much more on the Outliner side of that equation. I’ve always been very organized in every facet of my life, a trait that naturally carried over into my writing.
What part of the writing process do you find most challenging?
By far the hardest part of the writing process for me is plotting out the narrative. When I began writing my first Jeremy Barnes mystery, I had no idea how it would end, and although I loved writing that book, I soon discovered that I didn’t particularly enjoy completing over half of it before I had an end point in mind. Since then, I’ve generally tried not to begin a book without having at least an idea about how I’ll end it.
How do you deal with negative criticism or negative reviews?
I have a special app on my phone that alerts me when anyone says mean things about me online, along with another app that immediately gives me that person’s home address . . . well, not really, of course. Actually, I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of negative reviews, but even if someone did give one of my books a really bad review, I wouldn’t let it bother me. If I thought that person had read the entire book and given it an honest review, I’d probably post a thank-you to him or her and then move on. Life’s too short.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Three names immediately come to mind. In no particular order, they are P.G. Wodehouse (whose Jeeves novels were introduced to me by my father when I was a teenager), Frank McCourt (whose Teacher Man described classroom situations eerily similar to what I experienced in my own teaching career) and Robert B. Parker (whose Spenser novels were definitely the genesis for my Jeremy Barnes and Daniel Hayes mysteries).
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I’m a six-foot-four-inch chiseled stud of a man. Wait, I just remembered that there are pictures of me online. Okay, then, no surprises.
Do you ever use people you know in your books?
I’ve never written any one character based entirely on a single individual I know, but I do have characters based on a combination of people of my acquaintance.
What songs are on your writing playlist?
I don’t have a writing playlist. I know some authors have playlists for background music when they write, but I like silence. Some of my best writing is done here at our kitchen table early in the morning or late at night.
What’s your favorite go-to snack while writing?
I’ve never had a favorite go-to snack while writing, but I’m thinking that’s a situation that cries out for correction. I’ll definitely be getting back to you on that, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the word Archway appears in that response.
What book could you live in and why?
I’ve spent the better part of two days thinking about this question, and I simply couldn’t come up with an answer, which is fairly embarrassing for someone who’s read as many books as I have. But there you go.
Bonus Question: What three words best describe you and why?
First, in so many ways, lucky. I was lucky enough to have wonderful parents who taught me to always try to do the right thing. And later on, in college, I was lucky enough to be in just the right place at just the right time, and so I met the love of my life. Second, kind. I can’t stand mean-spirited people. I try to be open and kind with everyone I meet, be it a well-known author at a book-signing I’m attending or a homeless person asking if I can spare some change. And third, optimistic. Whatever writing skills I possess probably came from my father, one of the all-time great letter writers, but my mother is the one responsible for my optimistic outlook. Mom went through some tough times, including growing up during the Great Depression, but I never heard her complain about a single thing, not once. I know bad things can and do happen, but you can’t spend your life always expecting the worst. Allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy life as much as you can.
ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX:
Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one.
Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including “Hard Court” and the recently released “In the Eye.” I also wrote “Small Talk” and “One by One,” both featuring Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write “The Backup Husband,” the plotline of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? I also tried my hand at writing humorous essays, which resulted in “Grammar Sex (and other stuff)” and its sequel, “More Grammar Sex.” Coming soon is “Small Bytes,” the first Jeremy Barnes novel, to be followed by two other JB mysteries, “Leaving the LAW” and “Speak Softly.”
In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as “Sports Night” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris.
I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me via my author website. Readers can also follow me on my Facebook page here.